Receive our complimentary daily US news bulletin in your email every weekday morning.
Join our complimentary daily US morning email newsletter
A judge in Idaho has decided that the upcoming murder trial of Chad Daybell will be streamed live as requested by the defense and multiple media organizations.
During a hearing for motions on Wednesday, Judge Steven Boyce altered his previous ban on cameras that was implemented last year.
During the highly-anticipated trial of the accused cult leader, cameras will be permitted in the courtroom from April 1, 2024 for a period of eight to 10 weeks. However, Judge Boyce has ruled that the court’s cameras will be used for streaming the trial, rather than media cameras. There will be limitations in place for this arrangement.
Last Wednesday, a Mr. Daybell, emotionless, remained motionless at the defense table alongside his lawyer John Prior. Prior had previously filed a motion last year to allow cameras in the courtroom.
According to Mr. Prior’s testimony in court on Wednesday, cameras serve as a mechanism to ensure honesty among individuals involved in the system and as witnesses.
Mr Daybell faces murder charges in the deaths of Lori Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, and his former wife, Tammy Daybell.
In the past, Judge Boyce declined the plea to have cameras in the courtroom when Mr. Daybell and Ms. Vallow’s cases were combined. However, the cases were later separated, and the judge has now set a hearing for Wednesday to reconsider the request for cameras.
He mentioned that Mr. Prior put forth a convincing case for the cameras, emphasizing that their presence would enable off-site viewing for family members.
According to Mr. Prior, the main motivation behind Mr. Daybell’s request for cameras in the trial is so that his family can observe the proceedings. They would appreciate the opportunity to watch it.
Judge Boyce concurred and expressed to the court, “The challenge of relocating a trial 350 miles away from our current location undoubtedly imposes limitations on those who wish to be present.”
The defense team also asked for the trial to be broadcasted through the media, citing technical difficulties with the court’s system.
Mr. Prior stated that a public trial does not only include individuals from Fremont County attending the trial. He mentioned problems with the live streaming to an overflow room during Lori’s case, and suggested utilizing professionals who are knowledgeable in this area.
However, Judge Boyce decided that the trial would be broadcast on the court’s system.
In the beginning of this year, Vallow underwent a difficult six-week trial at the Ada County Courthouse, which did not permit cameras. Only the final decision was permitted to be broadcasted live on the judge’s YouTube channel.
Lori Vallow made a statement in court as she potentially faces a life sentence.
The prosecution for Mr. Daybell’s trial sought a similar ruling and contended that having cameras in the courtroom could potentially transform a highly publicized case into a “spectacle.”
Prosecutor Rob Wood stated that live broadcasting of the trial would hinder the truth-seeking process.
It is unnecessary to change something that is not in need of repair. The court’s ruling to ban cameras was a wise one. We agree that the court made the right decision, as it improved the professionalism of proceedings and safeguarded the party’s right to a fair trial.
Judge Boyce will preside over multiple motions, such as a request to transfer the trial from Ada County to Fremont County and a request to remove the possibility of the death penalty.
In November 2019, Vallow wed Mr Daybell shortly after his first wife Tammy passed away from what was thought to be natural causes. However, after her body was dug up, it was discovered that she had actually died from suffocation.
In September 2019, the case of Vallow’s missing children gained national interest. During the time the children were still missing, Vallow was in Hawaii getting married to a self-proclaimed religious leader.
In June 2020, the bodies of the children were discovered buried in Mr. Daybell’s backyard, nine months after their disappearance.
Both Vallow and Mr. Daybell face charges of murder and conspiracy for the deaths of her children and conspiracy to kill Tammy. Vallow has been sentenced to three life sentences, while Daybell could potentially face the death penalty if found guilty.